My 75 Finally Gets The Attention It Deserves(This Could Take a While)

Members Restorations

  1. Tanker

    Tanker My first Chrysler

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    I bought this car in 1981 from a guy in my platoon at Ft Hood Tx that was being transferred to Germany. Prior to that the only Chrysler product (or vehicle for that matter) I had ever driven was an M60A1 main battle tank. I learned to drive automobiles in this car when I was seventeen. It has a 318 engine with a three speed manual transmission and floor mounted shifter. It also has front bucket seats and a very handy fold down rear seat. I drove this car until the early nineties when the timing chain jumped a few teeth and the pistons whacked all the valves and bent all the push rods. At that point I disassembled the engine just far enough to confirm what had gone wrong, then being young and not understanding how easily this could have been repaired at the time, the car was pushed to the end of my parents driveway in Los Angeles where it would sit for the next three decades. This photo was taken in August of this year when I was visiting family. At this point it had already undergone a substantial amount of cleaning as I tried to get a feel for its condition.

    Duster 11.JPG
     
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    • dartfreak75

      dartfreak75 Restore it, Dont part it! FABO Gold Member

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      Cool story!! Looks like you have a pretty solid car. I'm following cant wait to see more!
       
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      • Tanker

        Tanker My first Chrysler

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        Satisfied that it was worth saving, it needed a few things right away. The wheels were removed one at a time and taken down the street to the local Goodyear tire store to have the old Winston Winners replaced with new tires. So two days and a thousand dollars later it had good tires under it for the first time in fifteen years at least. Then the brakes were going to need attention. The master cylinder was shot so a new one was installed, but I was unable to get the brakes to bleed. Not having much in the way of tools available and being very short on time the car was towed down the street to a local garage where they were able to finish the job. The mechanic told me he was expecting to have to replace wheel cylinders and calipers, but was surprised to find everything working correctly with no leaks. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come. At any rate, with good tires and functioning brakes the car was now ready to be shipped back home to Pennsylvania. It arrived here at the hangar I work out of on October seventh. this photo was taken after its first bath in thirty years.

        Duster 2.jpg
         
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        • 65 Dartman

          65 Dartman FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          When I was stationed at Carswell AFB (Ft Worth TX) in 71/72, a co-worker bought a 71 Duster 318 3 on the floor which impressed me enough to buy a 72 Demon. Wife couldn’t drive a stick so traded it in on a (gasp) Toyota she just loved. Don’t have that wife anymore!
           
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          • Tanker

            Tanker My first Chrysler

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            Now moved inside, some work has begun. For the most part I'm cleaning and disassembling as I try to figure out what needs to be replaced versus restored.

            Duster 14.jpg
             
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            • Tanker

              Tanker My first Chrysler

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              Unfortunately I left the engine sitting for thirty years with the intake manifold removed. (Morons! Your bus is leaving!) This photo was taken in L.A. after all the debris that the friendly neighborhood rats had piled on top of the engine had been removed. Needless to say the engine will need to come out and be gone through at this point. Why oh why didn't I put the manifold back in place???:BangHead:

              Duster 12.JPG
               
            • Tanker

              Tanker My first Chrysler

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              Here's an interior shot for you. This car looked pretty nice when it died, but thirty years has taken its toll. Nevertheless, so far everything is replaceable or repairable. The original instrument panel was warped by the heat of the summertime Texas sun, so as soon as I was out of the service and back in L.A. I ordered a replacement at the local Glendale Dodge dealership. This is what arrived. Black with chrome trim. I've never seen another like it. I also ordered a new center panel with no radio option. Along with the glove box panel, it'll have to be sent back to L.A. for restoration.

              Duster 10.jpg
               
              Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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              • Tanker

                Tanker My first Chrysler

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                This bumper guard was damaged when the car was rear ended in front of Glendale High School. All of this corrosion then developed over the following years. When the car was parked there was still no trace of it. Fortunately I was able to find new old stock replacements for both parts that make up this guard. Neither part is properly installed yet. I'm waiting for the correct hardware to arrive.

                Duster 8.jpg

                Duster 17.jpg
                 
                Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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                • Tanker

                  Tanker My first Chrysler

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                  I've been doing a fair amount of cleaning under the hood as well and things are looking up. Nothing so far has been as bad as I feared it would be.

                  Duster 15.jpg
                   
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                  • Tanker

                    Tanker My first Chrysler

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                    Even the area under the battery tray could have been much worse. This can be dealt with fairly easily.

                    Duster 16.jpg
                     
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                    • Tanker

                      Tanker My first Chrysler

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                      The battery tray is another story. As you can see it's shot. To make matters worse, the battery trays on 75's seem to be unlike any others. They're longer for one thing, and have a slightly different shape at the front end. So if anyone has one in decent shape I'm interested.

                      Duster 18.jpg
                       
                      Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
                    • RustyRatRod

                      RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                      That's a pretty solid lookin car. What are your plans? Are you going to keep the original drive train since you do have it?
                       
                    • RustyRatRod

                      RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                      Well, they make plenty of them things. lol
                       
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                      • Tanker

                        Tanker My first Chrysler

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                        That's true for the earlier years, but I haven't found one yet that's a match for 75. A few years back two different members of this forum had the correct trays listed for sale, but they haven't responded to the messages I sent them so I have to assume they no longer have them available. And yes, I do intend to keep the original drive train. I'm one of those odd ducks that tends to prefer things stock. If I do make changes to a car they are things that can be undone with relative ease, like custom wheels, or traction bars. Mind you I've nothing against folks that like the more extreme mods, it's just not me.
                         
                        Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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                        • RustyRatRod

                          RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                          Is this not it?

                          Dodge Plymouth Battery Tray - 1AZBC00025
                           
                        • Tanker

                          Tanker My first Chrysler

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                          No, I'm afraid not. But thanks for trying. The tray on the 75's is a few inches longer and is shaped differently at the front end. Here's a photo of the correct 75 tray that was posted by Newmexguy back in January of 2013. I'm sure it's long gone by now.

                          75 battery tray.jpg
                           
                        • RustyRatRod

                          RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                          Yeah, all the listings I see are from 70-74. I wonder why they changed it when it would have been fine using the old design.
                           
                        • 65 Dartman

                          65 Dartman FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          @newmexguy works offshore and comes back on the weekends. Hopefully he’ll see this and get back to you
                           
                        • Tanker

                          Tanker My first Chrysler

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                          That's good news. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
                           
                        • moparmat2000

                          moparmat2000 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          Subscribed. Nice car!!
                           
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                          • Tanker

                            Tanker My first Chrysler

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                            A little progress to report and a couple of questions, so progress first. I managed to find the correct battery tray on eBay of all places. For several weeks I was searching for 1975 Duster and Valiant trays with no luck, but then it occurred to me that quite a few people wouldn't necessarily know what car it was for, so I changed the search to Mopar battery tray and there it was. Carelessly formed and a little on the ugly side, but clearly a 75. 1.jpg
                             
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                            • Tanker

                              Tanker My first Chrysler

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                              Fortunately I was able to clean up most of its oddities and make it look like a normal tray.

                              2.jpg
                               
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                              • Tanker

                                Tanker My first Chrysler

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                                Also, thanks to two members of this site I now have a replacement for my other damaged rear bumper guard and a replacement for my cracked left hand tail lamp assembly. I haven't picked that last one up yet but expect to do so this week. Thanks to the factory parts catalog and service manuals that arrived recently I've also managed to identify all of the components mounted in the engine bay, and it turns out that once you know the part numbers everything is still out there to be found. Now for my first question. Can anyone identify this rear end? I think I've looked over the site pretty well and cant find any others like it, and none of the rear ends in the chart that's been posted seem to match.

                                IMG_3691.jpg

                                IMG_3693.jpg
                                 
                              • dukeboy_318

                                dukeboy_318 Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor. FABO Gold Member

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                                8.25 rear
                                 
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                                • Tanker

                                  Tanker My first Chrysler

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                                  Finally, I know this has been raised on the blog before but here goes. I don't recall what brand the headers are that I had installed back in 82, but I never liked the way they fit. The fact that three of the tubes passed under the steering linkage meant they were too close to the ground for safety. Consequently, you can see in this photo that two of the tubes have been hammered flat by too many close encounters with the road. I hear a lot of folks recommending Doug's headers here. Do they eliminate this problem? And does anyone know if there are any shorties on the market that would fit a Duster? In all honesty I'm seriously considering going back to cast iron stock manifolds, but I'll stick with headers if I can find a set that fits well.

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